Published: September 15th, 2015
You know that friend we all have that is so busy you need to plan a trip to Starbucks with him or her at least two weeks in advance? Well, that’s me.
While I could sit here and write a minute by minute timesheet on how I manage school, work, a relationship, friendships, gym, involvements, and hobbies, I think I’ll just share with you all some little tips to prevent having a breakdown whenever your tasks start to pile up.
I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s actually quite challenging to have it all-together all the time. There will be days when life becomes overwhelming (*cough* finals week *cough*) and you cave and cry and reach for the pint of Ben and Jerry’s hiding in the freezer… That’s ok. We’re only human.
With that being said, behold: A Busy Student’s Human Approach to Time Management:
Step One: Maintain a Positive Outlook
Last thing anyone wants to hear is their alarm clock blaring at 5:45 AM on a Monday morning after a crazy weekend. But, spoiler: it’s going to happen. Waking up doesn’t have to be terrible; in fact, it should be the best part of your day. Try this: The night before, put a sticky note by your bed with a thankful thought, a mini goal, or something to look forward to that same day. It can be something simple like looking forward to seeing a friend or getting an A on your math quiz. Next, dress nicely- no ball gown or tuxedo needed here, simply not looking like you hate the fact you had to crawl out of your SpongeBob pajamas that morning. Wear something comfy and stylish. The clothes you put on your back do have an impact. These minute changes will improve your outlook for the rest of the day. I promise.
Step Two: Taking it Day-by-Day
Who actually has time to plan their day? Productive people, that’s who. I indulge in my planner- honestly, I’m addicted. You don’t have to be an extreme planner addict, but having a planner and writing things down really helps to get organized. It may seem like the most basic thing yet so many people don’t have planners. I prefer physical planners where I can make to-do lists and add sticky notes or deadlines. I also decorate my weekly spreads as a) a creative outlet and b) motivation to actually use my planner. Currently, a lot of people are switching over to the iCal or planner apps for functionality purposes. Find what works for you and use it!
Step Three: Balance
Isn’t that what time management is all about? You should never have to sacrifice the things you love to do for the things you have to do. I’m not saying quit your day job and drop out to go hang out at the mall. Rather, try integrating the two. Say, you wanted to have breakfast with your friends but need to finish studying for your midterm. Odds are they have something to study for as well. Pack your books and say hello to an insta-worhty study date with your friends over Mojo Donuts and black coffee. Similarly, reward yourself for the little things like reading three chapters in one night. Lots of mini goals (homework, quizzes, and late nights) need to be accomplished before you can master the bigger goal (exams, promotion). Get a little creative when it comes to incorporating, and your endless to-do list won’t seem so daunting.
These simple tweaks to your mindset and manner are all you need to improve your daily productivity. Sure, there are a thousand more tips I can share but these are the most crucial. Master the basics, and you can accomplish it all without feeling drained. Life is to be lived; take a second, stop, breathe in the pumpkin spice, exhale the stress, continue with a smile.